Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well hello... it's been awhile.

So I was just asked by a friend if I had quit the blogging world. Guess I've been a little MIA, huh? Sorry about that... I guess I have just been busy combined with being in a weird funk when I'm not busy. I blame the achilles tendonitis and subsequent physical laziness. I have slowly begun to realize that working out = endorphins = non-bitchy Natalie. Guess I should get back to the gym, huh?

BUT, I have had some fun goings-on in the past two weeks:
  • Easter Brunch at Charlie Palmer. Extremely delicious treat for this food lover.
  • The beginning workings of a new party to throw for a college friend!  Y'all know I how much I love throwing parties and the details that I have swimming in my head already have me giddy. 
  • An incredibly fun Mavs playoff date with a cute Swedish blondie (so rare for me... normally blondes = not my type). 
  • A few afternoons last week involving an "extended lunch" with my mom and Aunt. Also known as eating somewhere fun that is ohsoconveniently close to a few choice retail establishments. 
I am planning on having a battery-recharging weekend. Girl's Night Out for E's birthday on Friday, farmer's market and hopefully gym Saturday (thinking Saturday night IN with moose and the DVR'd Royal Wedding is sounding pretty good), and some much-needed organization/GSD on Sunday. 

You know how most people go on those fresh-start, binge cleaning sprees either around the start of a new year or the first of spring? For me, the urge hits at the end of spring/beginning of summer. I think knowing the inferno of Texas summer is right around the corner makes me need calmness in my life. I'm looking forward to making that happen this weekend.

Hope everyone is having a good week!  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Toodles / Au Revoir / Arrivederci!

{Image via}

Exciting news here at moose & lulu...

In August I will be going to England, France, and Italy!!

I am beyond excited and have already started brushing up on my french and attempting to learn the basics of italian.

Here's how it all went down:

Our little ad agency has experienced quite a bit of growth in the last year and those fabulous media incentive trips are based on added spending. So in addition to the Hawaii trip in January, we just found out that we qualified for a trip to London as well!

My dad loves to travel, but his preference is to sightsee by car. He's not a huge fan being carted around by tour bus or being in a pedestrian city and walking everywhere. He would much rather rent a car and tour the English countryside at his own pace rather than try to keep up with my Power Walking mother on foot. Which basically means that a trip to London is not his cup of tea. {Pun very much intended}

So, it looks like my mom and I are going to be heading across the pond this summer! We found out that Paris is a quick "chunnel" ride from London, so our plan is to fly into Paris a few days early, shop/eat/see Paris, and then chunnel it to London where we will spend six days there.

My European exposure is limited to the three weeks I spent in France when I was 15 and a brief glimpse of far-off Italian countryside as our bus zipped through bordering Èze. I have been dying to go to Italy ever since. I figured that while I was over there I may as well take advantage of the free airfare and decided that I would just skip on down to Italy solo after London.

I was discussing this plan with the roomie over brunch Sunday when she jokingly said "Maybe I should just grab a plane to Italy and meet you". What started as a joke quickly escalated to "wait, why not??" Thus creating our new plan for her to fly to Italy the week after London, which also happens to be the week of her 30th birthday. Très parfait, non?

It's all still VERY rough around the edges, and we have a lot of research/planning to do, but I am over-the-moon excited!

Our stay in London is pretty much planned out for us, but I would welcome any feedback anyone has regarding places to stay/eat in Paris as well as must-see cities or places in Italy! As you can see we've been doing *a bit* of research on our own as well:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things I am Loving

  1. This iPhone case with a credit card holder. I cannot even tell you the number of people that have stopped me and asked me where I got it (Amazon or Nordstrom). It has been a lifesaver for me not losing my debit card. 
  2. Last-minute date with my GBF last night when his boyfriend had to work late. We went to see Burn the Floor at Dallas Music Hall. It was sort of like Dancing with the Stars live. Probably not something I would normally go to, but we had so much fun oohing and ahhing over the abs of the male dancers together. :) Ross got his boyfriend season tickets to Dallas Summer Musicals for Christmas and he said that his bf's new nickname for me was "The Grinch" since I stole his Christmas present. Ha... gotta love gay guys. 
  3. The fact that my parents and one of my best friends just so happen to both be going to Napa this weekend and have plans to meet up. I *love* that my good friends love my parents and vice versa. 
  4. SPAWEEK.... ladies, if you haven't booked your appointments yet, do it! It may take some effort to find an open appointment this late, but it's worth it. I'm getting a facial tonight at ZaSpa for $50- it doesn't get much better than that!
  5. Exciting, exciting travel plans in the works. More on this later, but I am so incredibly ecstatic!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moose Monday - Katy Trail Icehouse

The roommate and I are getting evicted from our townhouse. Okay, so maybe not evicted, but the owner is trying to sell it and neither of us want to buy it, so it's on the market and as soon as it sells... we're on the streets. Okay, that's not really true either, but we will have to find another place to live.

Until that time comes, we have to deal with showings. Lots of annoying, kick-you-out-of-your-own-home showings. The fact that we don't stand to gain anything out of the deal makes it even more annoying. But our landlord has been great to us, so we try not to complain too much.

Sunday we had to be out of the house from 12pm-1pm, so we went to brunch and followed that with a few beverages at a new place called Katy Trail Icehouse. Yes, our one hour of forced vacancy turned into four hours of Sunday Funday Day Drinking. It happens.

For you non-Dallasites, Katy Trail is an exercise trail that runs through several densely populated areas of Dallas. It's always heavily trafficked, so there is usually plenty of good people watching to be had. I have had friends see everything from Troy Aikman to ferrets being walked on leashes. I have yet to witness either, but have made a verbal promise to my mom that if I ever have a Troy sighting, I will bust a U-ie and creepily jog behind him whilst taking an iPhone video of his "assets" for her.

Anyways, back to the point: some brilliant person decided that Katy Trail was lacking, of all things, a bar! At first I thought this was kind of ridiculous, but after visiting this lovely establishment- I am now a fan.

First of all, it has such a fun, laid-back Austin-ish vibe. Dallas can sometimes take itself FAR too seriously, so this is a nice breath of fresh air in a city that can sometimes be a bit stuffy. They have a huge patio with picnic tables and those big bulb christmas lights strung everywhere.

Second, considering there have been more than a few Saturdays in which I have ended up grabbing lunch with friends on a patio in workout clothes, an establishment where this attire is not only welcomed, but is the vast majority of what you see, is a fantastic place to add to my list of favorites.

Third, in addition to the fascinating people watching on the trail, they also have a bean shoes* pit! I was first introduced to this fun little game visiting my big brother in San Diego over 4th of July. So naturally, it always reminds me of him and all the fun weekends that we had when I went to see him in California. I love it!

Finally, since the bar is right off the trail and mostly patio, they are dog-friendly. Moose had such a great time checking out all the other dogs and digging in the sand.

Cooling off after an intense digging session. 

If you live it Dallas- I recommend checking it out. It's at the very end of Routh, tucked right next to the trail. We didn't try the food since we had just eaten, but everything we saw looked pretty good! If they start adding live music into the mix in the evenings, I may just move next door!

*Speaking of bean shoes, this picture brings back so many fun memories: my brother (right) playing one of the countless games in Mexico. There were a few times that I flew into SD and then a big group of us drove down to Las Gaviotas, Mexico. Between the near-death ATV experiences and the mechanical bulls, those trips probably deserve a post all their own, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Prescription for Stilettos

Remember this post? The one in which I declared April as:

**The Month I Will Get Up Early and Go Run at the Gym**

Um, yeah, that came to a screeching halt last week.

The day after that was posted I got up early, went to the gym for the third day in a row, hopped on the treadmill and started running, but the back of my ankle was having NONE OF IT. I tried to power through it briefly, but quickly resigned myself to walking.

That was over a week ago. I haven't been to the gym since.

I've been a good girl and have worn flats every day and have iced it down occasionally thinking it would go away in a few days. By Tuesday I decided I was over it and ready to get on with my life. I can walk just fine and am not in excruciating pain or anything like that- it's just more of an annoying, consistent, dull pain. But running? Not such a light dull pain and most definitely not happening. I hate going to doctors, but I begrudgingly made an appointment.

And guess what? She's my new favorite doctor!

She explained to me that running in the mornings without stretching out your achilles or at least walking first is not very smart. {Thanks for that, doc.} And then after diagnosing me with mild achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, she told me I had to stay away from the gym for a couple weeks and gave me two options:
  1. Wear a big, blue medical boot with an achilles wedge for two weeks.
  2. Wear high heels 24/7 for a week and see if it gets better, and if not, see option one.
She said that being barefoot or wearing flats actually puts more strain on the achilles and that in doing so all week, I had probably made it worse instead of better.

So, let me get this straight: I can't go to the gym and I MUST wear high heels every day? Is it just me or is she basically saying that I need to spend the next two weeks filling my calendar with dinners and happy hours since I'll be all dressed up with no where to go?! 

New. Favorite. Doctor. 

Hands down!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fashion Mish Mash

I just got a very proud email from J. Crew's cousin, Madewell, touting their "old school cool" Hertiage Premium Worksuit and I just had to share:

Now, I would by no means consider myself a fashionista, but REALLY?!? 

Several thoughts:
  1. You would have to pay me to go in public wearing this. And even then, I would take the money you gave me and go straight to the nearest retail store to buy something acceptable to put on so I didn't have to be seen in public like this.
  2. The model, while very pretty, looks like she would stink like a sweaty, old man painter.
Sometimes I just do not understand the marketers and product development teams behind these brands. But again, maybe I am just not the "fashion forward" type that they are seeking. 

On a more positive note, I found my new favorite spring shirt and workout top at Gap the other day:
 I am my mother's daughter and decided I loved it so much that I needed it in several colors. This one is my favorite though... I might have a slight obsession with coral.

I'm a huge fan of cinched bottom workout tops for two reasons: 1) they stay put when doing inverted yoga poses. 2) they hide stomach chunkiness very well throughout the in-between season when it's not bikini season quite yet and you are still working off the winter padding.

The straps of this one are almost a grosgrain-ish material and cross in the back. It's very cute in-person.

And finally, I decided to keep this bag from my last post. Yes, it is huge, but I just love it. And huge works for me since I tend to carry lots of stuff around with me. I just did a quick glance in there, and no shit, I found: 
  1. A flat iron.
  2. Three pairs of sunglasses.
  3. One shoe (?!?)
  4. An ice pack.
  5. Two koozies.
  6. A box of wheat thins.
It should be noted that this was in addition to all my other "normal" purse contents. I am going to have back problems one day thanks to my Hoarders Purse Edition tendencies.

Anyone else found any fun fashion purchases lately? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March in Pictures!

Wine stained lips after a very fun evening of dinner at Alma and drinks at Victor Tangos. The company included Jules as well as these two characters:

If I could show you the four-way text exchange between us the next morning you would probably pee your pants laughing. Love these guys.

The Eagle twins made their debut in February and I got to meet them the first week in March! They are so sweet. I especially love how whenever they lay side-by-side they always turn and face each other (such an adorable added bonus that I was able to catch them holding hands!). While I can't imagine having twins, Wylie and Caroline are powering through it like champs... and Wylie is blogging about it along the way. His take on parenthood is hilarious and definitely worth checking out.

Further driving the nail in the coffin of #29 on my 30x30 list, my car got into a bit of a scuffle with my garage in March. Unfortunately, the panel where the car brushed the side of the garage had been wrecked before so the steel was weakened. Weak steel + Stone Edging = $1,356 worth of damage according to Service King. Luckily, I was able to track down the guy I took to Homecoming junior year of high school that happens to work in the car biz and got it done for $500. Score one for Facebook!

The new love of my kitchen. It's a Griffin under-counter iPad holder. This baby is amazing for using one of the many recipe apps and whipping up something delicious without the fear of killing my iPad with a rogue bottle of olive oil. Also useful for entertainment purposes when making time consuming recipes that you know by heart (risotto, anyone?!?). A good episode of Damages makes the stirring... and stirring... and stirring go by much faster.

Kamber starting off St. Patty's Day with a bang. I'm pretty sure I ended up wearing that mustache at J. Black's later on in the evening... lovely.

My cutie of a Goddaughter made it out for the St. Patty's parade. The girl is already quite the party animal: she showed up in theme-appropriate green attire, mixed and mingled with all our friends, and she definitely hit the bottle pretty hard. ;)

Rachel showing off her skills at the shooting range. After much persuasion, the boys convinced me to at least give it a try. I learned very quickly that it is much safer for me to shoot guns in the country. Even though they warned me about the kick-back, when I shot it, it popped up so much that it scared me at which point I spun around to give the gun back to the boys because I just wanted it out of my hand. And in the process I pointed the loaded gun at several of them. In other words, I broke the cardinal rule of shooting ranges. I'm pretty sure that's the last time I'll get invited on that little outing! I'm just so incredibly thankful that nothing bad happened. 

I was driving behind this guy and just had to take a photo:
Crotch rocket... check!
Ed Hardy motorcycle jacket... check!
Helmet with fake synthetic mohawk... check!
Ladies on the back of the motorcycle... notsomuch.

The best thing about doing yoga at home instead of at the gym? No one there to judge you when you drink red wine instead of water. :)

Long overdue dinner with the girls: Slow Cooked Short Rib Stroganoff. Hopefully I'll get my act together this week and get the recipe up for Foodie Friday. It was delicious.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this!  Speaking of, did any of you hear about all the drama with Ina Garten and the Make-a-Wish child that wanted to meet her? Sheesh, talk about a PR nightmare! I'm happy she decided to grant the child's wish but don't really understand why she chose to do it independently of Make-a-Wish.

I have been waiting (not very patiently) to replant my dead pots and window boxes. My green thumb took two steps back this winter and pretty much everything I had planted aside from the mint, died. 

Ta Da! Much better.

Mmm... Nick and Sam's Grill's Lamb Shanks with Puttanesca Sauce. Lamb isn't one of my favorites, but this dish may have changed my mind and encouraged me to try branching out beyond the lamb/mint combo in my own kitchen.

Mark and I went with two of his friends to the Dallas Symphony to see Mahler's No. 6. It was my first time and it was actually a lot of fun! Of course I'm usually up for anything that involves getting dressed up on a Thursday!

My favorite part was where we sat. The majority of the seating is in front of the symphony, but there is a small section behind them. It was so neat because we were not only very close to the action but were also facing the conductor. He was so fun to watch throughout the performance with all his crazy facial expressions and flailing. 

What is it about Spring that just makes you want to shop? I bought this new bag with a Nordstrom giftcard and love it, but I can't decide if it is too big. Thoughts?

It's been two weeks and they are still alive! Score one for the green thumb!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Moose Monday- Happy Birthday!

It was moose's 4th birthday on Friday! I'm a bad mom and went to Opening Day at the Rangers on Friday and then I had a Crawfish Boil followed by a birthday party on Saturday, so my parents kept him for the weekend and we celebrated on Sunday when I went to their house for dinner. 

Even though I abandoned him all weekend, he was in good hands. My mom spoiled him in the way only a grandparent can. 

With a trip to Whataburger:

Followed by a personalized cake from Three Dog Bakery:

He's just a leeettle spoiled. If it's any indication of what is to come, future grandchildren have got. it. made. I can't imagine how she'll be with babies! In the meantime, moose is quite happy to be the subject of her pampering!